The No. 15 Georgia Bulldogs defeated the No. 24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 20-19 on Saturday night, and the Dawgs got the victory in front of an ND home crowd that had a sea of red in a big chunk of Notre Dame Stadium.
After the game, Smart said the crowd’s presence was so helpful that Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who started for an injured Jacob Eason, didn’t even have to adjust his pre-snap signals from verbal communication to physical gestures, something that’s typical for road teams playing in front of hostile crowds.
SEC SEC SEC— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) September 10, 2017
"Our QB was able to go on his own cadence. U don't get to do it on the road in the SEC, the fan base don't let you do that" pic.twitter.com/6Bz4SbOXJr
“I tell you what I’m proud of, I’m proud of our fans, proud of the fact that they came out,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “Tons of them were here. The video shots I saw from Chicago before the game, and the takeover when we got here, you know that played a role in this game. We never felt like it was so much of a road game. Our quarterback was able to go on his own cadence, which you don’t usually get to do on the road, definitely don’t get to do on the road in the SEC, the fanbase don’t let you do that. We were able to go on ours and I think a lot of it had to do with the red and black in the stadium.”
It’s common for quarterbacks to use alternate communication methods when playing on the road, or even at neutral sites. For point of comparison, Georgia had some trouble calling signals in 2011 against Boise State in the Georgia Dome, where most of the crowd was Georgia fans.
A lot of UGA fans traveled to Chicago during the week before making the trip to South Bend on Saturday. It’s also convenient that the Atlanta Falcons play the Chicago Bears on Sunday, so this is a nice sports weekend for Georgia fans, to say the least.
Reinforcements are coming. Overheard a waitress to a bartender, "Jesus, these Georgia people keep coming...." pic.twitter.com/GhYHAQKA0G— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) September 8, 2017
Tickets for UGA fans were also extremely hard to come by, because so many of them showed up.
"This has been the most difficult ticket I have seen during my years at UGA," said associated athletic director Claude Felton, who has been with the University of Georgia sports information department since 1979. "There are large numbers of Bulldog supporters heading to South Bend with no tickets. They just want to be part of the experience." Georgia received — and quickly sold — 8,000 tickets for the game at Notre Dame Stadium. Secondary market ticket prices were in the $1,600 range during August, though fans that waited it out could have snagged a nose-bleed seat Thursday for $500 on StubHub.
Georgia fans who made the trip are probably happy they made the trip, to say the least.